McLaren won’t sell the $160,000 540C in the U.S., but Canadian buyers luck out

McLaren 540C Shanghai
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

Please, don’t actually blame Canada.

Yes, it’s true that McLaren has decided not to offer its new entry-level model, the 540C, here in the States, but it’s unclear as to why the British sports car manufacturer will only offer the 540C to our northerly neighbors.

When McLaren took the wraps off the new 570S, on which the 540C is based, it was a sure thing that the new model would be sold globally. However, when McLaren revealed the toned-down 540C shortly after, rumors emerged that it too would be available wherever the 570S would be sold.

Now we’re learning that it’s “highly unlikely” McLaren will import the 540C to the U.S., even though it will be homologated for sale here. McLaren spokesperson JP Canton told AutoGuide that the UK automaker was still undecided, but if you were ready for a $160,000 version of the 570S and you live in the good ol’ US of A, don’t get your hopes up.

Canada, on the other hand, and indeed the rest of McLaren’s 540C markets will be able to choose between the higher performance 570S and the more comfortable, less powerful 540C.

Both models use a twin-turbocharged 3.8 liter V8, which in the 570S develops 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, and in the 540C makes 533 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. In Canada, the 570S will start at $219,750 (~$185,000 here in the U.S.), and the 540C will retail for $196,500.

While the 540C is more focused on daily drivability compared to the 570S’ readiness to tackle the track, it still sprints to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and tops out at 199 mph. The 570S manages the same run in 3.2 seconds and reaches its limit at 204 mph.

On the bright side, when Americans are ready to buy a used McLaren 570S (all < one percent of us), we won’t have to worry about being conned into purchasing its lesser sibling.